It’s no secret that the Twilight series was a huge overnight success. It had everything a young adult reader could dream of…lust, romance, danger, adventure, secrets, feelings of being horribly misunderstood by anyone and everyone, vampires, and werewolves. Wait…what?
Granted, monster stories have interested humans for ages. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson are just a few of the classic monster stories that have lasted the test of time and enthralled many generations. But ever since the Twilight Saga there has been a mass movement towards vampire/werewolf based stories, and it’s not just teenagers that are drawn to this craze. That sixty-year-old lady sitting across from you on the train? She’s reading Twilight. That twelve-year-old boy you babysit on the weekends? He’s reading Twilight with his friends. What’s the name of that book sitting on your bed side table under a stack of old papers from last semester? Oh yeah, it’s Twilight.
The crazy thing about these books is that people of ALL ages across ALL ethnic backgrounds have found themselves sucked in. What began as a book written by a housewife (Stephenie Meyer) for young adult readers has made its way to the forefront of many a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and men and women old and young have hungrily reached for that book. WHY??
How has the Twilight phenomenon managed to grow beyond a literary movement? This fascination with werewolves and vampires lurking in the shadows of society, lusting on young girls, battling each other for territory, fighting to prove their “humanity” while simultaneously trying to repress their dark natures, has breached prime time TV and movies and countless copycat books. Think “The Vampire Diaries” on The CW, “True Blood” on HBO, racy shows that air late at night depicting excessive violence and lust. What about films like “Van Helsing,” or the Underworld series, or even I Am Legend, that showcase vampires and werewolves battling each other? These films came out before the Twilight phenomenon, but nonetheless were a part of a growing fascination with that vampire/werewolf world. What is it about immortal, pale men that has captivated an entire generation of readers?
Food for thought: how has Twilight altered society’s ideas of what love looks like? Has it been for the better or the worse?